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HIV and AIDS

How Does Transmission Of HIV Occur?

04/12/2000

Question:

In the transmission of HIV, what has to occur?

Answer:

HIV has to somehow come into contact with a special kind of white blood cell called a CD4 (or T4) lymphocyte. This cell has two different kinds of receptors on it`s surface; receptors are molecules that react specifically with other molecules, some of which are on the surface of the germ (in this case, HIV). Once the HIV has latched on to the CD4 receptor and the chemokine receptor, it gains entry to the cell. Then it essentially takes over the cell`s basic mechanisms and directs the cell to make HIV viruses, instead of what that cell is already programmed to do (like fight infections).

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Response by:

Judith   Feinberg, MD Judith Feinberg, MD
Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati